new store on the block

new oriental store1

it’s on smallman near the 31st street bridge, the only oriental store for many blocks away from the hustle and bustle of the strip / i pass it everyday and a few months after it opened i finally found reason to visit < out of rice, need lumpia wrapper > on a friday evening, i am one of five customers \ having found the 25 lb bag of milagrosa jasmine rice and spring roll wrappers of just the right size, i meander about the store / it is stocked up with the delights i seek:  roasted chestnuts, salted duck eggs, rice crackers and … < ramen noodles! >

i’m probably not alone among former graduate students when i confess that ramen noodles hold a special place in my stomach \ since then ramen noodles has been a pantry staple / i was searching for the spicy version that i had discovered in the past year or so \ it was not the typical 20 cent bland ramen < it is premium-priced @$1.89 and  spicy seafood flavored >  here it is only 99 cents!  when i inquired about it, i was told it was not typically sold in cases but they would sell it to me, with a 10% discount  / i resisted, instead got a sampling various brands including their premium-priced ramen noodles black \ black probably because of the lonely sliver of dried black mushroom that comes with one of the three (!) seasoning packets, indeed a class above ramens


this new store “many more” was featured in the  1/30/14 pittsburgh post gazette article about asian markets in pittsburgh

new asian store-many more1


less than six

banjolele pair

i had planned to spend the day-off practising or learning a new a piece with one or all of these < guitar lute uke mandolin >  but none of them made it to my arms that workless day,  just my pillow  \ banjo and uke: the most cheerful and welcoming of string instruments \ never saw a pairing like this until market square today

i highly recommend the uke for those with a tendency to depression and melancholia | just have it sitting around may even be enough  / but with only four strings and a neck that’s not very wide, it is very easy to play / the banjo is a close second \ such a bright responsive instrument | like someone who is easy to make friends with / a hybrid of the two is the banjolele

from wikipedia | The instrument achieved its greatest popularity in the 1920s and ’30s, and combines the small scale, tuning, and playing style of a ukulele with the construction and distinctive tone of a banjo, hence the name. Its development was pushed by the need for vaudeville performers to have an instrument that played with the ease of the ukulele, but with more volume.


love what you hate

first snow-first erg

captures positive thinking \ and is our rowing team’s unofficial slogan thanks to our mate with the funny accent / today was our first day of indoor rowing training which coincidentally is also our first snowfall in pittsburgh \ both did not disappoint < 8x500s with 20 second switches |  2 inches & 30 degrees > / i enjoyed our many sunny weeks on the river from spring to summer to early fall \ it will take a lot of motivation to erg for the next 20 or so weeks  / much more, to endure winter < but trivial in comparison to the typhoon disaster that devastated my home country >

i did not mind the snow until i had to drive / two years living in ithaca, new york left me with this beautiful romantic impression of snow & winter that i expected or hoped to find wherever i ended up living after grad school  <ithaca experience only slightly marred by the fact that grey hill house * alas gone! * was located on bleeding nose steep east buffalo street>

the necessity of driving dispelled all such hope |  so <love what you hate> will have to sustain me for awhile

teammate with funny accent practising what he preaches: in case you can’t tell, he’s doing a side plank < on a stony beach in england >

“proof of plankiples”

121113 plank

Continue reading “love what you hate”

public storm warning signal #4


some of the most indelible memories i have growing up in the philippines were around natural disasters especially earthquakes and typhoons plus volcanoes erupting < ring of fire is not just a song > /  as a six-year old, earthquakes constantly evoked the fear of the “tall” apartment building across the street falling on our house \  the seasonal typhoons were predictable and did not elicit that fear of falling steel and cement structures / i lived in the city and typhoons tended to ravage the countryside \  rather, schoolchildren like myself anticipated with secret happiness, signal #2  |  that meant we got to stay home from school /  it would need to be signal #3 for college students to enjoy this reprieve  \  so i am reading about typhoon yolanda  | aka haiyan elsewhere | currently ravaging the central islands of my native country and found that eastern visayas was under signal #4  <signal #4?>  i do not recall a signal #4  |  indeed it was instituted 22 years ago and this was the first time that it was used outside of luzon |  apparently, signal #3 did not accommodate the upper limits of typhoons and suggests that typhoons have increased in intensity over time

it is late saturday morning in the philippines and the forecast is that a weakened yolanda is on schedule to make an afternoon exit  /  damages she caused are now being assessed  <earthquakes, typhoons, volcanoes erupting> all part of life in the islands and life goes on

07 november 2013


08 november 2013


09 november 2013


season ender: at last, not dfl


this is our last race of the season, the head of the occoquan  /  a beautiful sunny day made the river glitter though at times it turned a bit windy and chilly \ i rowed with a  good novice crew / that felt good, the lineups i had been in all my previous races this year consistently came dfl but not this time!

we drove about six hours from pittsburgh to arlington on saturday \ georgetown was a short walk across key bridge but we spent a good bit of time searching for a place to have our traditional pre-race team dinner / on a busy saturday night, a table for a party of ten is almost impossible to come by \ nice to see georgetown after so many years

occoquan team dinner

i am always nervous before a race / with rowing, so many things can go awry and can affect the outcome of a race or even a practice session \ let me count the ways:  the lineup, since rowers come in differing abilities and sizes | equipment failure like foot stretchers, seats, or oar collars coming off | water conditions that can change hour-to-hour or spot by spot | wind conditions that can be constantly variable | an engaging coxswain or not | non-working coxbox | race rules that can change at short notice

then there’s the rowing technique itself with many parts that have to come together for the individual rower | that have to be acted out in synchrony as a team /  but that is what i love about rowing = the challenge of mastering these irritations and the supreme focus needed to achieve mastery \  i also enjoy the camaraderie of my teammates and fellow athletes  / we come from different backgrounds and though we have different motivations for taking up the sport, i think we are united by one common goal especially at every race and that is, not to let the team down, not to catch crab, not a good thing